Unified Development Ordinance gives property owners incentive to downzone
COLUMBIA - Developers have been busy since the Unified Development Ordinance passed earlier this year. As a result of the new code, some developers are rezoning properties around town to renovate and flip.
The Benton-Stephens neighborhood’s reaction to the codes is downzoning. Downzoning from R-3 to R-1, for example, is turning a multiple family apartment into a single family house. Some are downzoning to R2, which is a duplex.
President of the Columbia Board of Realtors Jim Meyer said downzoning decreases property value of existing buildings, but the code provisions raise the price of new housing.
“It has lowered the market value of the properties that were downzoned. The reason nobody did it before is because there was no benefit to doing so,” Meyer said.
According to Meyer, the new code creates many requirements for properties that are adjacent to single family houses. He said this gives property owners the incentive to downzone their own property.
“That’s truly unfortunate. It’s unfair,” Meyer said.
Because downzoning decreases the monetary value of previously existing properties, it becomes harder to sell an old single family home for a high price, Meyer said. However, he said after the downzoning is complete and new construction is in effect, the value of the newly constructed building increases. This means property owners who are downzoning are getting more for their money, while their adjacent neighbors are getting less.
Moving forward, Meyer said he hopes some revisions are made to the ordinance to balance out the benefits for single family homeowners and larger property owners.